The True Wartime Escape
of Margret & H.A. Rey

On view April 11 through July 5, 2018

Margret and H.A. Rey

Curious George was able to go off on his adventures thanks to the fascinating, harrowing and largely unknown wartime escape from the Nazis by German-born Jews, Margret and H.A. Rey, who created Curious George.

The Curious George books are beloved by children of all ages around the globe with George’s stories translated into many languages, including Afrikaans, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Swedish.

Author Louise Borden, an award-winning children’s book author, heard about the Reys’ escape from the Nazi invasion and “just like the Reys’ famous little monkey,” Borden was curious. She was “intrigued by the story of Margret and H.A. Rey’s flight from Paris on bicycle in June 1940.”

Over the course of several years, Borden spoke, wrote and emailed with people in England, France, Germany and Portugal who had known Margret and H.A. Rey. Borden traveled to many small towns and cities based upon the addresses found in letters and work diaries the Reys’ wrote in 1936 to 1940 when they lived in Paris.

Borden’s research culminated in her book The Journey that Saved Curious George which inspired the exhibit.

The exhibit features photographs of the Reys, illustrations by Allan Drummond, and several keepsakes, including H.A.’s copious notes in his pocket diary detailing their four-month wartime escape from Paris to New York. It also highlights several amazing artifacts from the Holocaust Memorial Center’s archives and Detroit area survivors.

H.A. and Margret arrived in New York on October 14, 1940. The following year, Curious George, formerly named Fifi, was published. H.A. and Margret became U.S. citizens in 1946.New York: Curious George is Published

Join us for one of the exciting programs featuring The True Wartime Escape exhibit!  Learn more about these opportunities, admission, and RSVP, by CLICKING HERE.

The exhibit is open Sunday through Friday and is free with museum admission or membership. For more information about the exhibit, please call 248-553-2400.

The exhibit is recommended for ages 12 and older.


Thank you to our exhibit supporters!

Janice & Chris Billmeyer
Robin & Leo Eisenberg
Rozie & Bernie Friedman
Nancy & James Grosfeld
Raina Ernstoff & Sanford Hansell
The Karp Family
Jackie & Larry Kraft
Henrietta Weisberg z"l
Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs
National Endowment for the Arts